Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! As we look forward to 2017, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who have contributed to the Richmond Noticeboard over the past year. There’s a full roll call here, sincere thanks to each of you.

2016 was an interesting year for us – early in the year we celebrated the news that the Richmond Noticeboard was one of 10 similar UK news services which had won support from Nesta for 12 months. We were also delighted when the journalism students from Darlington College got involved for a news day looking at retail.

Now those two initiatives are complete we’ve got a little time to take stock and consider what opportunities 2017 might present.

The environment that the Noticeboard operates within has changed a lot in the time we’ve been up and running. When we first started out as an independent online publication, there was just Richmond Online offering occasional news about the town alongside its regular events and visitor information.

Now, local residents can get regular news updates from newcomer Richmondshire Today as well as lively chatter about the towns goings-on from Facebook followers at the Richmond Yorkshire Forum. In addition, there’s multiple offerings from the many talented local photographers documenting the life of the town.

So where does the Noticeboard sit in the mix? Should it be expanded? Should we attempt to give more coverage for Catterick for instance? Or maybe become more concentrated on the core issue of local decision-making with more in-depth reporting from the councils?

These are the sort of questions we started working through during the Nesta-supported experiments, and the reader surveys carried out during the year were invaluable in that, but the work goes on and we’d love to hear your views. (Please do feel free to post via the comments below or email in confidence to richmondnoticebardATgmail.com)

Whatever the future holds, there’s one thing we already know for sure – we need more volunteers!

If you fancy writing about the town, carrying out some filming or taking photographs, we’d love to hear from you. We can provide training and equipment – all you need to take part is an interest in the town.

But if volunteering isn’t for you, there’s still the opportunity to post events that need publicity on the Noticeboard. The instructions on how to post items are here. Once an event is posted there, we’ll help spread the word across social media and in the regular newsletter.

Whether you’ve posted up some news to share, or simply enjoy reading the updates, we look forward to hearing from you throughout the next year.

Planners to decide on new gift shop for the town

millgate

A gift? No. 19

Plans for a new gift shop in Richmond’s Millgate will be considered by councillors on Wednesday.

The owner of a flat at number 19, Barbara Overfield, wants to change the use of her property from residential to commercial. The street is well used by visitors to the Falls and she believes her small property could host a shop.

The property comprises a long narrow building, and would be ideal for a small,
niche, boutique shop which would only serve to enhance the area.

Some of the other residents in the street have objected to the plans but councillors on Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee are being recommended to grant permission.

The proposed change of use from residential to retail relates to a very small ground floor property, just off the Market Place. There is policy support for retail use in ‘edge of centre’ locations. The proposal will not harm the character and appearance of this part of the Richmond Conservation Area, or result in any significant harm to neighbour amenity and privacy.

Given the scale of the proposed retail use, there are no grounds to reject the proposal in terms highway safety. The proposal meets the requirements and expectations of policies of the Development Plan, and the National Planning Policy Framework.

* The full agenda item report can be seen here. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 6.30pm on Wednesday, January 4 at Mercury House.

Six best places to eat in Richmond, North Yorkshire for 2017

The first time I came up with this at-a-glance guide to places to eat out in Richmond was back in 2009 (updated in 2012) so it seemed high time to update in time for the new year.

It’s good to acknowledge some newcomers to this list (and celebrate that the previous bemoaning about the state of the Kings Head Hotel can definitely now be put to rest).

Each of the places mentioned here have been visited multiple times and proved to be consistent but it is, of course, a list that is personal opinion.

So, if you think there’s a place that should be recommended, please do feel free to add it into the comments at the bottom of this page – and do say why you think it worthy of a second look.

Wherever you eat in 2017 – bon appetite!


Best for fish: Barretts
Address: 7 Rosemary Lane | Between Victoria Road and Finkle Street, Richmond DL10 4DP
Phone: +44 1748 824815

Barretts

Barretts

What we say:
Don’t be put off by the American diner style decor – this is far from a burger joint. Instead you can expect quality cooking with fresh fish dishes a speciality. Good service, a well thought through drinks menu and attention to detail make this a favourite destination.

See the tripadvisor reviews here.

Best for meat: Rustique
Address: 5-7 Chantry Wynd | Finkle Street, Richmond DL10 4QE
Phone: 01748 821565
What we say: Consistently good food with value-for-money set menus as well as specials. French style cooking with duck dishes and steaks providing substantial traditional fare. Often an interesting cheese board selection too.

See the tripadvisor reviews here.

Cafe: Duncans
Address: 5A Finkle Street, Richmond DL10 4QA.
Phone: 01748 517040
What we say: Tucked above the butchers in Finkle Street, this tearoom offers a lot more than tea and cake. That said, the selection of teas on offer, and the quality of the homemade cakes, make it worth a visit for that alone if you’re only around at tea time. However, the lunch menu is particularly interesting with good wholesome Yorkshire fare with a choice of serving sizes offered.

See the tripadvisor reviews here.

Pub grub: George and Dragon, Hudswell.
Address: Hudswell, Hudswell, Richmond DL11 6BL
Phone: 01748 518373

pie

George & Dragon

What we say: OK, it’s not strictly in Richmond but, seeing as it is within a country mile, it’s still worth mentioning as the food is a cut above the average freezer to microwave pub grub so often on offer. Pies are the deal here, wonderful pies! Walk from town through the woods and up the famous Hudswell steps to ensure your appetite is ready to handle the pie.

See the tripadvisor reviews here.

 

 

Chinese: New Treasure Garden
Address: 7 Castle Hill | Richmond, North Yorkshire, Richmond DL10 4QP,
Phone: 0 1748 825827
What we say: With its old-school style decor, this Chinese restaurant might look dated but the food is far from old hat. Classic set menus jostle for attention with more adventurous items and the quality of the ingredients and cooking is so consistently good that it’s likely to be fully booked on even the slowest of weekdays.

See the tripadvisor reviews here.

Fine dining: Frenchgate Hotel
Address: 59-61 Frenchgate, Richmond DL10 7AE.
Phone: 01748 822087
What we say: Still really the only place in town for an upmarket meal. The detailed set menu always features regional and seasonal dishes with an emphasis on game. Expect to pay about £40 a head. Celebrate a special occasion with drinks on the drawing room before moving on to the unfussy dining room.

See the tripadvisor reviews here.

 

Other things to note about the town…………

Indian food
Sadly, Richmond still doesn’t have a great Indian restaurant. As an alternative, if you’ve never tried a Fijian curry, there’s a fresh one on offer each day at the Holly Hill pub. For a takeaway, Delhi-cous is reliable although it has a tendency to be a bit bland so, if you like it hot, best request some extra spice.

Cafe food
There are many cafes in the town, all with their own feel and style worth checking out. Try out the breakfasts in the Frenchgate Cafe if you’re looking for a well-cooked and varied selection. Relative newcomer Wilfred Deli in Finkle Street is finding its place in the town with posh sandwiches and a really interesting selection of salads.

For drinks
The landmark Kings Head Hotel has massively improved its drinks offering with a selection of cocktails and an interesting (if a tad expensive) wine list served in a pleasant surroundings with helpful staff.

The Castle Tavern serves up a good pint in a cosy and friendly traditional pub setting.

  • Got a recommendation? Feel free to add it here via the comments below.

Civic Society award for Georgian Theatre

The Georgian Theatre Experience has been selected by Richmond and District Civic Society for its Civic Amenity Award 2016 in recognition of the new initiative and its contribution to the tourist economy of the town.

The heritage attraction – which opened its doors in July of this year following a major £500,000 redevelopment programme – tells the fascinating story of the UK’s oldest working theatre in its original form and offers a taste of what life was like in 18th century England.

A news release posted its website said:

It has been a huge hit with locals and tourists alike and finished the season (alternating with Richmond Castle) as the first of 23 things to do in the town on the popular online tourist site Trip Advisor.

In presenting the Award, John McDonald, Chair of Richmond and District Civic Society, said: “The Civic Society is committed to keeping Richmond’s past alive and flourishing in the present. Therefore, we are delighted to make this award. The Georgian Theatre Royal is a national treasure and to see how its talented team of theatre professionals and volunteers keep its heritage constantly moving forward into the twenty-first century, makes us all very proud.

“The newly-completed Georgian Theatre Experience offers visitors to Richmond a very special and authentic flavour of the eighteenth century entertainment world, in a contemporary setting,” he added.

Visitors to The Georgian Theatre Experience are able to take a full guided tour of the auditorium, dressing rooms and stage, as well as spend time in the state-of-the-art exhibition area.

The Georgian Theatre Experience reopens to visitors on Monday 13 February 2017. Entrance costs only £5 per person (£2 for children) and tickets are valid for 12 months to enable repeat visits.

Juniors take North Yorkshire medals

By Mark Fletcher

Medals

The medal winning squad at Sheffield for the North Yorkshire Indoors

This weekend the club’s junior athletes had a chance to shine at the North Yorkshire indoor championships held in Sheffield at the English Institute of Sport and they didn't disappoint.

10 athletes went and 10 athletes returned with medals and of those no fewer than 6 titles won. Joshua Hammett was the youngest of our athletes taking part and carried off firstly the U13 B title for the 150m (21:9) and then followed this up with the double and stormed to victory in the 800m (2:34:0). Emily Harris was also in fine form just missing out on the U15 girls 60m in 2nd (8.6s), 4th in the 200m (28:1) and 5th in the long jump (4:09). Abbie Robson also competed in the same age group and was 6th in the 200m (29:3) and an excellent 2nd in the 300m (48:0). In the U15 boys, Ewan Baxter showed his potential in the U15 boys with 4th in the 200m (31:8) and 2nd in the 300m (51:2). Eliza Withers flew to 2nd in the U17 women's 60m hurdles (9:7) and also 3rd in the 300m (46:5) and Joey Hewson ran well for 3rd in the 60m (8:5) and 3rd in the 200m (27:7) in the same age group.

James Davidson started the day with 2nd in the U17 men's 200m (24:4), but followed with a great victory in the 400m (53:9). In the U20 age group, Adam Walker was 5th in the 60m (7:4) and then destroyed the field to win the 400m (52:6), with Harry Robson finishing 5th (57:5). Harry then had an excellent race to win the 800m (2:16:0). The very young and inexperienced boys 4 x 200m finished an excellent 2 nd against a very strong and experienced City of York mens team and were represented by Adam Walker, Harry Robson and the young guns of Ewan Baxter and Josh Hammett. Emily Kirby, Abbie Robson, Emily Harris and Eliza Withers raced to 2nd in the 4 X 200m (1:57:0) Emily Kirby also took the senior ladies title in the 400m (70:1).

Marc Scott showed the field a clean pair of heels to collect another turkey for his Christmas dinner at the Loftus Poultry Run setting a new pb in the process (41:39) and Mike Jefferies was just outside the top ten in another good result in 12th (47:36). Jacqui Keavney also cooked a goose and collected herself a goose as a prize in 55th and the top V45 (54:33 pb) and Andy Everard in 152nd (62:37) in a seasons best.

Donna Riddler returned to running at Fountains Abbey in 29th and the 2nd lady (21:05). At Northallerton Rob Scott hit the front again in 1st (18:19) and Steve Middleton was 3rd (19:16). Jo Adams was the first harrier across the line at Darlington in 8th and the 1st lady (18:34), Ken Harker was 11th (18:49), Ian Hepworth was 76th (24:36), Tony Osorio was 118th (27:18) and Jane Bond was 120th (27:39).

Further information on the club and training nights can be found on the website www.richmondzetlandharriers.co.uk.

“Little boys and girls pounce on the food because they are so hungry”

It’s the moment in the blockbuster film of this year, I Daniel Blake, which brings home the enormity of the desperate situation the lead female character finds herself in.

Finally reaching the end of a winding food bank queue, the young mum is overwhelmed by the availability of food and is so hungry she can’t help herself from opening a tin and stuffing the cold, unappetising food into her mouth.

When this scene played out to a packed screening at The Station a few months ago, there was much rummaging in pockets for hankies, suppressed sniffles and clearing of throats.

But what the film followers experienced as fiction that evening is also playing out for real close to home. At a meeting last week, Richmond west ward councillor Linda Curran told her colleagues about the scenes she had witnessed at Richmond’s food bank, the StoreHouse on Victoria Road.

“We are talking about young families with young children who are being pushed into poverty, basically, and into hunger. I’ve been with quite a few families to the food bank and seen little boys and girls pounce on the food that’s available because they are so hungry.”

StoreHouse confirmed there had been a recent sharp increase in the number of people looking for help.

StoreHouse co-ordinator Paige Rutherford said: “We have seen a large increase over the past month or so of people accessing us. A normal week, we tend to see approximately 15 clients using us (which could feed anywhere from 15-20 people). Recently we’ve been seeing about 20-25 clients weekly which feed 30+ people. In comparison to large cities, this may seem a very small number, but for a town our size, and based on our normal weekly averages, this is a huge increase.

“Our increase seems to be coming from the choice between heating or food (one factor, but a fairly key one at this time of year).”

Councillor Curran believes that part of the issue pushing families into poverty has come about due to major policy changes from both local and national government relating to the way benefits are dealt with and the timing of when the money is paid out.

The topic is complex and multi-layered one which can be a baffling world of new terminology and processes just as the Ken Loach film exposes. The language used and systems deployed make public debate of the issue a minefield for people outside the system, a scary world of confusing new terms and undecipherable symbols.

For example, a process known as ‘sanctioning’ translates to mean that benefit money is withheld from people if a representative of the Department for Work and Pensions decides so. Richmondshire has the unhappy ‘honour’ of being at the top of the league for the whole of the UK for sanctions. In other words, as a proportion, more people claiming benefits in this area have them taken away leaving them without any financial support.

This month it was revealed that the area has also topped the league for homelessness in Yorkshire for the first time too, although it should be noted that that’s an accolade the council doesn’t accept as an accurate assessment.

What happens to those people left with no money?

Well no-one knows for sure because no-one collects the information. For some it could be good news – they simply don’t need help any more or maybe they have moved from the area? perhaps they got jobs? became homeless? or died? Statistics alone can’t answer those questions – and, it turns out, neither can the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request seeking some more information about what happened those local benefit claimants who have been ‘sanctioned’, the DWP said:

“The Act (FoI) does not require the Department to provide opinions or explanations, generate answers to questions, or create or obtain information it does not hold. We can confirm the Department does not hold any recorded information that could address your specific request at these questions. “

Imposed from a national decision, this  region was one of those selected as a pilot for the controversial flagship benefit policy, Universal Credit. That change was fully introduced across most of Richmondshire on 29th June this year.

Since that point, all new claims and changes in circumstances for housing benefits for working age people (with some minor exceptions) have been transferred to the DWP to be dealt with as Universal Credits claims.

The district council admits “there have been some teething problems in dealing with claims by the DWP leading to delays by the DWP in addressing claims” and the figures show there’s been a drop in the numbers of people locally receiving housing benefit – down from 2,072 in April to 1,778 in November.

But the changes don’t stop at nationally administered benefits. In order to avoid any potentially unpopular rise in the level of council tax  that householders have to pay, the district council reduced the level of subsidy available to people on low incomes to help pay their tax bills. There’s now 2,264 receiving that subsidy compared to 2,333 in April this year. According to councillor Curran, some families found that the increased Universal Credit they were entitled to pushed them into a position where they owed more council tax.

She called for action to ensure that people wouldn’t be faced with higher council tax bills in April while they waited for benefits changes to catch up with the shortfall in October.

The issue is sure to arise again during committee meetings of the council when taxes are set again next year but that still leaves those currently going through the labyrinthian systems with more pressing needs and the food bank operators are looking for help right now.

Rutherford appealed for donations: “We are definitely still looking for donations. Due to the increase of demand, or stock has gone down and a lot of our reserves have been used. We have had a quite a few generous donations recently, but we will continue to need more food to meet the demand over the coming weeks and months. We also accept financial donations – cash or direct debit/bank transfer if people prefer to donate this way.”

* The StoreHouse will be open on Wednesday, December 21st but then remains closed over the Christmas break. It will then reopen Wednesday January 4th, and be open full time again as usual from the 5th. There’s also more information about the food bank, including a list of the items required, at the website here.

 

Confused by new bin rounds? You are not alone

Richmond residents have been receiving cards from the district council warning about a change to bin collection times which will see householders getting their wheelies out for 6.30am on a Thursday…….or is a Wednesday?

Councillors this week heard that confusion reigns in some areas. West ward councillor Stuart Parsons said two neighbouring houses on Reeth Road had been given different collection days and wondered how that could be so.

In response, corporate director Colin Dales said there had been very little public response to the notices issued about the new collection times and urged people to get in touch if they were unsure about the changes.

Th email addresses for all the local councillors can be found here.

In a bid to ease confusion, the council issued the following press release about the collection times over the next few weeks:

Refuse and recycling collection dates across Richmondshire are revised due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Residents can check their changed dates at http://www.richmondshire.gov.uk

Excess recycling will be taken in suitable containers or bags and all the authority’s mini recycling centres will be open throughout the holidays. Christmas cards and envelopes can be left at the kerbside – in the blue bags – along with all paper and light card.

There will be a special collection of Christmas trees and garden waste on weeks between January 4 and 14 for residents subscribing to the green bin collection service.

Residents are also urged to take note of their revised collection day from January 16,
2017 – information is being sent to all households over the next week.

* You can see the full debate about the new bin collections, including concern about the new contracts for bin men, at this clip from the live stream in the first 10 minutes.

Foster nearly strikes Gold

By Mark Fletcher

George Foster was welcomed into the Richmond fold and nearly pulled off a win for his new club. The Eskdale Eureka is a fell race run over 9.4 miles of hill, scree and a 1325ft of climbing thrown in with George just pipped for 1 st by 25 seconds (55:55). Rebecca Simpson was also in action in 65 th overall and the 6 th lady (77:43).

At Northallerton parkrun Joshua Hammett had no one to chase this week as he climbed to the top of the pile to finish ahead of the field in 1 st (20:36). Fountains Abbey followed a similar pattern for our athletes with Reece Dalton in 1 st and a smashing new pb (16:06) and Rob Scott just behind in 2 nd also in a new pb (16:41).

At the Riverside parkrun Jeremy Pattison was in fine form to finish 3 rd just outside his pb (18:41). Steve Middleton was the 1 st harrier at Darlington in 3 rd (17:12), with Luke Hack in 5 th (17:41), followed by Carl Jones in 6 th (17:46) and Ronnie Corbett in 9 th (18:34). Ken Harker was 12 th (19:18), ahead of Shaun Purkiss in 13 th (19:40) and the flying Rebecca Simpson in 14 th , the 1 st lady and a massive new pb (20:05). Ian Hepworth was 87 th (25:03) and Nicki Buckett was 138 th (27:39).

Further information on the club and training nights can be found on the website
www.richmondzetlandharriers.co.uk.

The Noticeboard for Richmond events in 2017 is now open

noticeboard-icon

As the new year approaches, we have opened a fresh new noticeboard for you share all your events for 2017.

You can access it here.

Just as in past years, the service is provided for free and gives anyone the opportunity to promote an event going on in, or nearby to, Richmond.

Whether that’s a meeting or gig, concert or rally, the Richmond Noticeboard is a public open space available for your use.

If you’re a first time visitor here, there’s a step by step guide to how to get started here.

Black future for White Shops traders

Traders at the unimaginatively named White Shops in Catterick took their plea for help to the council this week as they struggle to remain in business.

Councillors were told group had seen their incomes fall by 75% due to the double whammy of lengthy roadworks going on outside their doors and a car parking charge being introduced in the nearest car park.

They presented a petition to members Richmondshire District Council asking for the car park charges due to be imposed next year to be dropped.

“The Democratic Services Manager to seek consideration of a petition requesting that Richmondshire District Council do not increase car parking charges at the White Shops in Catterick Garrison and that charges for parking be removed altogether.”

This was the case put forward by local councillor Helen Grant.

But the Conservative leader Yvonne Peacock insisted that the car parking charge would be needed to balance the council’s books.

After two votes on the subject, the final outcome was to refer the issue to the Council’s scrutiny committee in the New Year leaving the traders with no certainty about the issue for many more weeks.

You can see the full debate, including the petitioner’s case, on the complete video streamed from the council chamber here.

Richmondshire Today also has more details from the debate here.

How do you think the White Shops could be saved? Is the car park charge a step too far? We’d love to hear your views via the comments below.